The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Movie Poster Image
Engaging third Narnia adventure is fun for tweens and up.
  • PG
  • 2010
  • 115 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 32 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 79 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The Narnia movies are filled with positive messages about selflessness, self-sacrifice, and generosity. The characters, with the exception of Eustace (at first), are brave and want to help the Narnians defeat evil. As each of the main characters is tempted, they learn to make the choices that work for the greater good. Some of the messages could be considered religious, but it's not overt.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Aslan is an almost perfect role model, dispensing sage advice and guiding the characters to make the right decisions. The three kids are also positive role models -- as well as very relatable -- because they overcome their fears and insecurities for the good of Narnia. King Caspian doesn't surrender to his temptation to stand before his father before it's time. Instead, he honors his commitment to be the best king he can be.

Violence

The Pevensies and King Caspian and his crew battle the elements and their own fears that turn into reality -- like a giant sea serpent that dozens of men try to bring down with swords and arrows. There's a fair bit of sword play and sword fighting, but no one is killed. On one island, people are "sacrificed" to the sea, so a girl looks horrified as her mother is whisked away on a boat, presumably never to be seen again (spoiler alert: all ends well). A few characters look dead but are actually in a deep sleep. Two characters nearly turn on each other but only because they're under an enchantment. The White Witch appears, but only in Edmund's mind.

Sex

In one brief scene, Lucy looks at a couple who are flirting with each other and embracing. A star manifests herself as a beautiful woman, and both Caspian and Edmund look completely taken with her. An ongoing theme in the movie is that Lucy wishes she were as beautiful (and attractive to the opposite sex) as her older sister, Susan. 

Language

Some British insults -- like "sod," "what the blazes," "bleedin," and "thick" -- as well as "crap," "shut up," "idiot," "oh God" (as an exclamation), and the like.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the third Chronicles of Narnia installment is, like its predecessors, a tween-friendly fantasy adventure. In general, you can expect the same level of special effects-heightened battles/violence and minor language as Prince Caspian. While there's little inappropriate content for older elementary-schoolers and up, younger kids may be frightened by a few scenes with a giant sea serpent and others set on an island where people are routinely sacrificed. Like all of the adaptations based on C. S. Lewis' classic books, there are some mild allusions to Christianity, though nothing overtly religious is said (Aslan does reference the "other name" he's called in the regular world). The film offers positive lessons about collaboration, selflessness, and overcoming personal doubts and fears, and the three central kids all grapple with self-worth issues that will be very relatable for tweens. Note: The movie's 3-D images add to the intensity of a few action sequences, particularly the battle with the giant sea snake.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 year old Written bySandlot812 December 31, 2010

If you liked the other Narnia movies then this one is great.

Very engaging - lots of action and funny. Mild language issues ("crap"). Final scene can get a bit intense for a sensitive young child (7-8) but if... Continue reading
Adult Written byHarry Potter 1 June 9, 2013

The epitome of Narniaian adventure

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a wonderful adventure. While Prince Caspian was a big disappointment,this movie returns the wonder of Narnia found in The Lion... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMiranda B. January 17, 2011

A strong plot and strong characters continues a wonderful movie series.

For those who were disappointed that Reepicheep didn't have enough screen time in Prince Caspian then fear no more; he receives a fairly large part in the... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old April 10, 2011
it so cool

What's the story?

In this adaptation of C.S. Lewis' third Chronicles of Narnia book, the two youngest Pevensie kids, Edmund (Skandar Keynes) and Lucy (Georgie Henley), are staying with their aunt, uncle, and obnoxious younger cousin Eustace (Will Poulter). They make the best of their unhappy situation ... until one day, when the seaside painting in their guest room comes to life and sweeps them (and unbelieving Eustace) onto the Dawn Treader, the royal Narnian ship of King Caspian (Ben Barnes). Caspian explains that he and his crew are on a mission to find the seven "lost lords" of Narnia, who were dispatched by his father ages ago but were never heard from again. To restore peace to Narnia, they must track down the lords' enchanted swords and lay them at Aslan's table. As Caspian, the Pevensies, and the crew of the Dawn Treader navigate treacherous waters, they're each tested by an evil mist that emanates from an ominously dark island.

Is it any good?

The Chronicles of Narnia series isn't exactly The Lord of the Rings saga, but, THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is surprisingly engaging. Yes, it follows the less-glamorous younger siblings and their insufferable on-screen cousin, but that's true to Lewis' story and allows for Edmund and Lucy (and Keynes and Henley) to mature and show that they're as worthy as Peter and Susan to fight for Narnia. Simon Pegg replaces Eddie Izzard as the voice of Reepicheep, and once again the sword-wielding mouse is a highlight of the action -- in this case helping Eustace grow into a brave defender of Narnia.

Director Michael Apted, a master at nuance and character development (he made both the groundbreaking documentary series 7 Up and the Oscar-winning biopic Coal Miner's Daughter), smartly focuses on the relationships between the main characters rather than the action. There are still some special effects-heavy sequences, but it's not mind blowing. So Apted chronicles how Lucy deals with her desire to be as beautiful as her older sister and how Edmund struggles with his jealousy over living in Peter's -- and now Caspian's -- shadow. These are believable younger sibling "issues," and it makes the Pevensies -- and Eustace, who's too logical and uptight for his own good -- incredibly relatable to a tween audience, many of whom are experiencing similar doubts about their self-worth. So although this saga isn't quite as memorable as other epic fantasies like LOTR and the Harry Potter movies, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a worthier-than-expected journey.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how each of the main characters was tested and tempted and yet came out victorious. What insecurities did each of them overcome? What is the movie's message about pride and beauty?

  • For those who've read the books, how faithful is the film to the story? 

  • Why do you suppose the Pevensies can't return to Narnia once they've grown up? What is it about getting older that makes your time in Narnia come to an end?

Movie details

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